More and more teachers are packing heat and taking responsibility for defending their classrooms and students, thanks to a program out of Ohio that's growing around the country. The Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response (FASTER) program was started five years ago by the Buckeye Firearms Association. It has trained more than 1,000 people across several states in firearms use and combat response.
"This is basically just getting the training for people who want it, not for everybody, to be able to carry a firearm in the school, and also the medical training to treat the injuries," says Jim Irvine, director of the FASTER program. He tells KTRH this type of training is necessary to prevent another school massacre like Columbine or Sandy Hook. "It's not the cops we need to train, it's the school staff, because they're the only ones who are there when the event starts."
Although the FASTER program doesn't operate in Texas, it is similar to initiatives here. In 2015, the Texas Legislature passed a campus carry law, allowing licensed carry of firearms at schools and universities. And some Texas school districts have begun arming their faculty and staff in recent years.
Irvine argues that schools can't simply rely on police to respond to a shooting or violent situation. "(The cops) can't help if they're not there," he says. "Asking them to stop an act of killing when they're not there, is as insane as asking them to stop the guy who's about to run a red light from hitting you in a car accident."
The FASTER program is completely optional, but Irvine notes that hundreds have already completed it and more continue to sign up. "If the vast majority of school staff want nothing to do with this program, that's fine, there's nothing wrong with those people," he says. "But there's also nothing wrong with the person who says I will step up and do it."